The Case of the Unwanted Sports Injuries

Exercise and sports is amazing; the feeling of knowing your healthy and enjoying the burst of energy each day is marvelous. However, the boring part comes when you have an injury that prevents you from functioning normally.

Many people play sports in some way or another, whether they are playing for fun in their backyard or competitively on a team. Exercising by playing sports can be very beneficial to your health, but sometimes these benefits to your health are outweighed by negative things, such as an injury. The severity of these injuries can range from minor to very serious, with some injuries requiring surgery to fully heal. These injuries may be caused from poor training practices, improper equipment, flawed techniques, or may just be an accident. Injuries can also occur when a person is not properly conditioned to play the sport, such as not warming up or stretching muscles beforehand.

Sourced from: http://www.myerssportsmedicine.com/5-common-sports-injuries/

The severity of the injuries will vary with each individual depending on the level of strain. There are two kinds of sports injuries: acute and chronic. Acute injuries occur suddenly when playing or exercising. Sprained ankles, strained backs, and fractured hands are acute injuries. Signs of an acute injury include:

  • Sudden, severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Not being able to place weight on a leg, knee, ankle, or foot
  • An arm, elbow, wrist, hand, or finger that is very tender
  • Not being able to move a joint as normal
  • Extreme leg or arm weakness
  • A bone or joint that is visibly out of place.
    Chronic injuries happen after you play a sport or exercise for a long time. Signs of a chronic injury include:
  • Pain when you play
  • Pain when you exercise
  • A dull ache when you rest
  • Swelling.

Sourced from: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sports_Injuries/sports_injuries_ff.asp

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Chronic injuries will be characterized by pain during exercise or sporting activity and a faint ache while resting. Luckily, it is possible to prevent frequent injuries with some tips especially n the case of the three most recognized activities; football, gymnastics, and cheerleading.

Football Injury Prevention Tips

  • Perform proper warm-up and cool-down routines
  • Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching
  • Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize cramps
  • Stay active during summer break to prepare for return to sports in the fall
  • Wear properly fitted protective equipment, such as a helmet, pads, and mouth guard
  • Tackle with the head up and do not lead with the helmet
  • Have a pre-season health and wellness evaluation
  • Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about football injuries or football injury prevention strategies
  • Gymnastics Injury Prevention Tips:

  • Insist on spotters when learning new skills
  • Warm up muscles with light aerobic exercise, such as jumping jacks or running in place, before beginning training or new activities
  • Inspect equipment to ensure that it is in good condition, including padded floors, secured mats under every apparatus, and safety harnesses for learning difficult moves
  • Wear all required safety gear whenever competing or training — special equipment may include wrist guards, hand grips, footwear, ankle or elbow braces, and pads
  • Do not “play through the pain” — if you are hurt, see your doctor and follow instructions for treatment and recovery fully
  • Make sure first aid is available at all competitions and practices
  • As with any sport, proper conditioning and training are important to minimize injury, including:
  • Resistance exercises to gain strength in the lower back, stomach, and shoulders
  • Regular stretching, yoga, or pilates instruction to improve flexibility
  • Speaking with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer

Cheerleading Injury Prevention Strategies;

  • Stunt restrictions – In an attempt to curb the amount of catastrophic injuries in cheerleading, restrictions have been placed on stunts. They range from height restrictions in human pyramids, to the thrower-flyer ratio, to the number of spotters that must be present for each person lifted above shoulder level.
  • For example, the limit for pyramids is two body lengths for the high school level and 2.5 body lengths for the college level, with the base cheerleader in direct contact with the performing surface. Base supporters must remain stationary and the suspended person is not allowed to be inverted or rotate on dismount.
  • Basket toss stunts in which a cheerleader is thrown into the air (sometimes as high as 20 feet) are only allowed to have four throwers. The person being tossed (flyer) is not allowed to drop the head below a horizontal plane with the torso. One of the throwers must remain behind the flyer at all times during the toss.
  • Mats should be used during practice sessions and as much as possible during competitions. Cheerleaders should not attempt a stunt if they are tired, injured, or ill, as this may disrupt their focus and cause the stunt to be performed in an unsafe manner.
  • Training – The importance of a qualified coach is also critical. Coaching certification is encouraged. Precautions should always be taken during inclement weather for all stunts. Also, a stunt should not be attempted without proper training, and not until the cheerleader is confident and comfortable with performing the stunt. Supervision should be provided at all times during stunt routines.
    As with any sport, proper conditioning and training are important to minimize injury, including:
  • Resistance exercises to gain strength in the lower back, stomach, and shoulders
  • Regular stretching, yoga, or pilates instruction to improve flexibility
  • Speaking with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries or cheerleading injury prevention strategies
  • Returning to play only when clearance is granted by a healthcare professional

Sourced from: http://www.orthop.washington.edu/?q=patient-care/articles/sports/common-sports-injuries-and-sports-injury-prevention-tips.html